With expansion and reconstruction well on its way at the Social Safeway in Glover Park, and several other Safeway stores in the works, Safeway, Inc. is setting its sights on demolishing and rebuilding another of its DC area locations, this time in Bethesda. The store, at the intersection of Bradley Boulevard and Arlington Road, lacks one of the monikers so commonly applied to the stores in DC (its only Yelp reviewer dubbed the location the "Superfluous Safeway"). The pitch to the MCPB? The new design will be a "civic gateway" (Civic Safeway?) to Bethesda's Central Business District (CBD).
The planned structure would replace the single-story, 25,568-sf., 1950's era building with a modern, 43,097 sf. two-story building with elevated sales floor located above structured parking at and below ground level, much like its Social sibling. The architect for the project, Rounds VanDuzer Architects, plans to use a variety of materials to break up the largely unfenestrated building with pavilion-like structures, including a brick base with stone, steel, stucco and glass accents.
Improved sidewalks and streetscapes will provide pedestrian access from several points on Arlington Road and at the corner of Bradley Boulevard. Though there is no direct access to the adjacent Capital Crescent Trail, the plan provides for a covered bike station with drinking fountain and air pump on premises to improve bike access - so you can bike to the grocery. Additionally, the plan includes vehicular access directly from Arlington Road and via a right-in, right-out driveway off Bradley.
The storefront will feature a revolving public art exhibit, orchestrated by the Bethesda Arts and Entertainment District. Safeway will also provide financial support to the Bethesda Urban Partnership (BUP) for beautification of the Capital Crescent Trail retaining wall which runs along Arlington Ave., a response, in part, to local resident concerns.
The staff recommended approval with conditions, most notably meeting requirements for stormwater management, and achieving LEED certification at minimum. Transportation conditions include adding bike lockers in the parking garage as well as showers for all those employees who commute via the poor man's metro. The plan goes before the Montgomery County Planning Board for review tomorrow, July 23rd.